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Slayer - Reign In Blood review

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Slayer - Reign In Blood
1986 Def American Recordings

Track Listing:
1.  Angel Of Death
2.  Piece By Piece
3.  Necrophobic
4.  Altar Of Sacrifice
5.  Jesus Saves
6.  Criminally Insane
7.  Reborn
8.  Epidemic
9.  Postmortem
10. Raining Blood

Vocals:  Tom Araya
Guitars:  Kerry King, Jeff Hanneman
Bass:  Tom Araya
Drums:  Dave Lombardo


Horatio's Rating:  A
Overall Rating:  A

Also be sure to read:
Slayer - Christ Illusion by Skin Splitter & Horatio
Slayer - Decade Of Aggression
by Horatio
Slayer - Diabolus In Musica by Horatio
Slayer - Divine Intervention by Horatio
Slayer - God Hates Us All by Horatio
Slayer - Seasons In The Abyss by Uncle Meat
Slayer - Show No Mercy by Uncle Meat & Shev
Slayer - Undisputed Attitude by Horatio
Fantômas - Suspended Animation by Lamp
Grip Inc. - The Power of Inner Strength by Horatio
Straight To Hell:  A Tribute To Slayer by Shev

Horatio's Review:
Perhaps the most obvious choice for a review on any metal website, I'm surprised it's taken this long for 'RIB' to appear here at KITF.  But here it is, some seventeen years later, still as powerful as it was in 1986.  Slayer took the leap to the big leagues with this, in the same way Metallica, Megadeth and Anthrax all did with their second albums.  The only difference was this was Slayer's third album, the previous two, 'Show No Mercy' and 'Hell Awaits' both plagued by rough production which thwarted Slayer from sounding as brutal as they should have been.  'Reign In Blood' put matters straight, as Rick Rubin's production put them over the top, with a precise and clean sound few have ever topped.

This is the way to make a thrash album.  Ten tracks clocking in at twenty eight minutes, all fast, an easy way to make an impact and a point.  Overnight acts like Celtic Frost, Bathory, and Destruction were made to look as crude as they were, while Exodus, Metallica and Anthrax seemed tame by comparison.  Hanneman and King established themselves as thrash's premier guitar duo, and rightfully so, the level of twisted genius running through 'Necrophobic', 'Criminally Insane' and 'Angel Of Death' something they themselves had trouble topping.  I once read one seasoned metal scribe remark how no one had heard drumming like Lombardo's up until 'RIB', and the drum sound is crisp and clear, always fast and banishing memories of Lombardo's efforts on the first two albums.  The main reason Slayer distinguished themselves from most was their ability to retain melody amongst such a vicious rampage.  Every song has a discernable hook and melody line, something that was lacking from many, particularly Euro bores.  Whether this is the greatest thrash album I don't know, it's in the top five certainly, Slayer equaling this in many ways with 'Divine Intervention'.  But it's still thrash's key point, a glorious reaffirmation of how superior 80's metal was.

Song summaries...
1.  Angel Of Death - The most well known thrash track in the genre, and one that I suspect Slayer probably wish they wouldn't have to play again.  But they still will be when they're fifty.  I can only imagine peoples faces when they first caught an earful of this.  A generation of tight jean wearing, white trainer and long haired freaks headbanging in unison in front of their ghetto blasters.  A
2.  Piece By Piece - Two minutes long, with five minutes of aggression packed in.  A typically crazed King written piece that shreds riff wise.  King said not long ago that the idea with 'RIB' was to be fast and consistent as possible, nothing more would suffice.  A
3. Necrophobic - In a relentlessly fast album this might be the fastest track at a whopping one minute and forty seconds.  It's reminiscent of 'Dittohead', minus the slower section.  Lombardo sounds like a machine, pummeling his kit into various states of submission.  Too much, bro!  A
4. Altar Of Sacrifice - The riff at the twenty second mark is almost without equal in thrash history.  Distorted and crazed, it's sums up the album as a whole.  'Enter to the realm of Satan!', screams Araya in a moment dozens of amateur thrashers took their key from to rip Slayer off.  A
5. Jesus Saves - King at the onset of his Christian bashing, which is still unwavering nearly twenty years later.  Considering King was only 22 at the time you have to wonder what his purpose in such intense Christian hating was.  As Norris asked, 'was he bum raped by a priest at a young age or something'?  Song itself is another blast of speed of course.  A
6. Criminally Insane - It amuses me how assorted geeks and losers consider Sodom and the like superior to SlayerKreator in a 20 year career have never once approached what Slayer do in two and a half minutes here.  Fast with melody.  Sleights of hand that come out of nowhere.  Tangents most wouldn't take.  That's why the 'big four' were that.  They reached a level of sophistication no one could match.  Not Forbidden, Flotsam And Jetsam, Overkill, Dark Angel, etc.  All of these had none of the above.  You can be as fast as humanly possible, but without melody it's worthless.  You hear me!!!!!????  A
7. Reborn - The first time I heard 'RIB' I didn't think it to be overly fast as the first Slayer I had been exposed to was 'Divine Intervention'.  A few listens put paid to that thought, 'Reborn' yet more head on material.  The material is short enough that it can't wear out its welcome or become tiresome.  A
8. Epidemic - Incomprehensible lyrics from King, 'pulmonary overthrow, possession of your inner throne, invasions quickly override...'  I'm certain he had no idea what they meant either.  So fast that the lyrics are secondary anyway.  B+
9. Postmortem - The slowest track on offer, which isn't a disparaging comment as the galloping riffs at the onset are as effective as any. It gathers pace near the end with some mighty double bass kicks from Lombardo and the classic line 'do you want to die!'.  A
10. Raining Blood - Another Slayer standard with a final minute described in the liner notes as 'Noise: Hanneman/King'.  That's what it is, a tirade of feedback and distortion from King and Hanneman and drumming verging on blast beat from Lombardo.  A suitable climax to a true classic of an album.  A 

Horatio's Rating:  A

Discography (last updated 8.29.06):
Show No Mercy - 1983
Haunting The Chapel EP - 1984
Live Undead - 1984
Hell Awaits - 1985
Reign In Blood - 1986
South Of Heaven - 1988
Seasons In The Abyss - 1990
Decade Of Aggression - 1991
Divine Intervention - 1994
Live Intrusion EP - 1995
Serenity In Murder EP - 1995
split 7" with T.S.O.L. - 1996
Undisputed Attitude - 1996
Diabolus In Musica - 1998
Ubernoise:  The Interview - 1998
God Hates Us All - 2001
Soundtrack To The Apocalypse box - 2003
Christ Illusion - 2006
Cult 7" single - 2006
Eternal Pyre EP - 2006